Acquiring superior workforce planning capabilities is not easy for any organisation. The intention of this blog is to provide managers and business leaders with insights and ideas on how to develop these capabilities and thereby achieve their operational and financial goals. If you would like to be notified when new posts appear follow us via social media or sign up for our newsletter.
Here is the next interview in our series profiling great regional workforce planning leaders.
Ritesh Parswani is the Director WFM for Sutherland Global Services in the Philippines. He has deep skills in leading large, successful workforce planning teams in both the Philippines and India. He is always generous in sharing his knowledge and has kindly agreed to answer our questions.
NextStep is proud to announce its expansion into the Asian contact centre market.
The massive increase in contact centre seats across Asia has led to a significant shortage of fully trained workforce planners. Many organisations are reporting difficulty sourcing and retaining expert planners which is leading to schedule inefficiencies, forecast errors, and the under-utilisation of WFM tools.
NextStep addresses this gap through its scalable, expert workforce planning capability that’s ready-to-go at any time.
Great contact centres are supported by great workforce planners. These talented and experienced professionals help contact centre executives run smooth operations and make strong decisions. Often, though, we don’t hear much about their views and accomplishments.
To help shed some light on the world of the workforce planner Blair Murphy, as Resource Planning Manager at BUPA Australia, has agreed to answer a series of questions relating to his experiences.
Agent turnover is a problem in many contact centres. High turnover equals high recruitment costs, high training costs and a less productive workforce.
There are many drivers of attrition in contact centres. Research indicates the key drivers include the repetitive nature of the work, limited opportunities for advancement, a perception of non-competitive remuneration, and lower engagement due to agents not seeing themselves basing their careers around contact centres.
These factors pose tough challenges for Contact Centre Managers to overcome. To manage agent turnover more effectively here a four aspects of an analytical approach to managing agent turnover.
Everyone who looks to purchase a workforce management application will, at some point, want to hear about its forecasting capabilities. More specifically, they will want to know how accurate those forecasts will be. Focusing on the tool, though, can cause us to miss what’s really important. What really matters is how effectively the planners can use the tool to deliver the best results.
So when considering new tools to improve forecast accuracy these two questions should be asked:
- Does the tool have all the functionality that my planners need?
- Do my planners have the skills to exploit its full capabilities?
If the answer is not ‘yes’ to both then you will not achieve the best possible forecast accuracy results.
Let’s look at each question to understand where forecast accuracy comes from.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome Ulrike Dunn to the NextStep Workforce Planning team.
NextStep understands that brilliant workforce planning results are achieved when experts are supported by the best tools and processes.
As the Head of Information Technology and Process, Ulrike’s role is to ensure that NextStep’s systems and processes remain world’s-best practice and that our planners can effectively utilise them to deliver exceptional results for our customers.
It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that NextStep Workforce Planning is now a Silver Sponsor of the ATA.
The ATA is the premier body for professional development, information sharing, mentoring and networking within the Australian Contact Centre industry.
Currently, the ATA represents more than 75% of contact and call centre organisations across Australia, with more than 1000 member businesses from sectors including banking & finance, IT&T, insurance, travel & transport and retail.
NextStep’s team delivers high quality workforce planning services to the Australian contact centre industry. This allows organisations to utilise the expertise of a professional team without the large capital outlay or management overhead involved with an internal workforce planning function.
As we all know even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. This is never truer than in contact centres. To adapt to changing circumstances and to try to save service levels many centres employ Real-time Analysts. Their role is to monitor centre performance, compare it to expected (forecast) values, and adjust schedules, skills and call flows where required.
If everything went according to plan, Real-time Analysts (RTAs) would not be necessary. Their role is to make a bad situation good. (Well, less bad anyway.) That means that sometimes a below par centre performance might still be evidence of exceptional real-time work.
Take this example:
Which situation better displays high performing RTAs?
- A day goes by exactly as expected. No action required. Service level is on target.
- Volumes double. What could have been a 10% service level ends up at 50% due to the quick action of your Real-time Team.
Some RTA KPIs will reward the first and penalise the second. Is this driving the best behaviour in your contact centre?
Here is an alternate approach that avoids this issue while promoting better contact centre results and improved engagement from your RTAs.
Some schedules can be brutal on the agents having to work them. Irregular work patterns and unsociable hours can disrupt personal lives causing intense dissatisfaction. This can then impact on-phone performance, unplanned leave, adherence-to-schedule and cause higher attrition. Knowing how your agents feel about their schedules is the critical first step in managing these serious issues.
Good schedules find the right balance between the cost, service and employee schedule satisfaction. Move too far in any one direction and, sooner or later, all the dimensions end up suffering. The problem is that many centres have no well-defined way to track schedule satisfaction.
Here is an easy way to measure your organisation’s schedule satisfaction and build a framework to keep it in top shape.
Cloud-based workforce management applications are growing in number and reputation. New systems such as Planora, Injixo, Irene and Monet are now vigorously competing against the traditional premises-based solutions such as Nice IEX and Aspect.
With rich functionality and low costs, is a cloud-based WFM application something your contact centre should be considering?